When I first arrived on Isabela Island, I wasn’t sure what to expect given reviews were quite mixed toward this less populated island. I was told that it was quite a bit smaller and less developed which didn’t bother me as I don’t mind sleepy beach towns. I was to expect dirt roads, no ATMs and a more quiet, laid-back atmosphere.
After seeing my more-than-rustic hostel, I decided to splurge for a hotel right on the beach. The palm tree-lined white sand beach seemed endless against the beautiful turquoise ocean and having it only footsteps away from my room was #worthit.
Later that morning, I took a day tour for Las Tintoreras which was pretty cool. We were able to snorkel in the lagoons with marine iguanas, rays, sea turtles, starfish and tonnes of tropical fish in the crystal clear water. What was most amazing to me, marine life was primary and humans were secondary. The marine life couldn’t be bothered by your presence as you were the visitor in their home.
The landscape of Las Tintoreras was breathtaking with the mix of the lush greenery, pools of turquoise lagoons against the black lava formations. An incredible view of complete untouched, all-natural beauty.
Los Tuneles was my favourite day tour I have ever experienced. We visited incredible lava formations that looked like bridges over the beautiful pacific ocean which were inhabited by countless blue-footed boobies and cacti. The lagoon areas were clear enough to watch sea turtles swim lazily underneath the lava bridges with no worries.
The most exciting part of the tour was being able to snorkel and free dive for a couple of hours. There’s nothing like becoming one with the salt water while being surrounded by marine life! I even tried free diving the lava formations for the first time. I almost drowned in one of tunnels, but it was worth the experience.
We had great opportunities to see blue lobsters, penguins, white tip sharks, sea horses, sea cucumbers, urchins, sea turtles and schools of colourful fish. I knew that I had finally found my paradise, immersing myself in the colourful marine life and wishing to transform into a mermaid – this was the most happy and free I had ever been.
Additionally, I met a great bunch of people on the tour and during happy hour at Casa Rosada. Funny enough, most of us ended up crossing paths again on Santa Cruz Island the following day.
This island was by far my most favourite of the three main islands and in my opinion, the most beautiful place on earth. The charming little town surrounded by naturally beautiful landscape has proven that humans and nature can exist harmoniously together.
It was a great experience, being able to jump off the dock daily and being greeted by sealions swimming circles around me. Each turn in the water was as if they were egging me on to play with them. However, my favourite moment of the entire trip was being able say that as a Canadian, I was able to swim and play with an adorable penguin. It was amazing to see this little penguino up close and personal, as it zipped along and around us knowing that it was far too fast for us to swim with.
In my opinion, Isla Isabela represents the perfect balance between humans, nature and development. I look forward to continue my travels but Isabela has stolen the top spot for the most beautiful place on earth.